Medford Police saving lives through use of Naloxone

Medford, Ore. — Medford Police say they’ve used Naloxone 39 times in the last three years to stop heroin overdoses.

Out of those 39 times, 37 lives have been saved.

“We’re tremendously grateful that they care so much, and that they carry it everyday,” President of Max’s Mission, Julia Pinsky, said.

After losing her son to a heroin overdose, Julia Pinsky started a nonprofit called “Max’s Mission”.

With a goal to save lives, Pinsky says she’s beyond thrilled to know Medford Police are administering Naloxone.

It’s a nasal spray medication, that blocks an opioid overdose.

“It’s across the social stratosphere. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, what color you are, or your economic status. We’ve seen the heroine use increase in this region,” Deputy Chief Brett Johnson with Medford Police said.

Deputy Chief Brett Johnson is with Medford Police.

He says heroin overdoses are on the rise in Southern Oregon.

“This time last year we’d used naloxone three times from our officers, and this year we’re up to eight,” Deputy Chief Johnson said.

Since first getting ahold of Naloxone in 2015, police have used it 39 different times.

Out of those 39, 37 lives were saved.

“People ask us why we’re saving drug-addicted people, but this is somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s father… And our job is to save lives first and foremost so it goes with our mission,” Deputy Johnson said.

Once those lives are saved, some are concerned they will return to bad habits.

Which is one reason why House Bill 4143 was introduced.

The bill would allow for a peer-mentor program offering treatment to overdose patients in the emergency room.

“To have a peer reach out to them and give them access to treatment there and then whatever type of treatment… It’s a pivotal moment,” Pinsky said.

Jackson County is one of four counties in the state piloting the program.

Then after two years, the Oregon Health Authority will access the results.

If successful, lives would not only be saved, but they could be changed.

“They’ll have that hand outstretched to say ‘Are you ready to get help now?'” Pinsky said.

Julia Pinsky says some details still need to be worked out, but she believes the pilot program will start by January of 2019.

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